Monday, May 7, 2018

Moluccas Holiday March 2018 Part 1 - Ora Beach Resort and Tebing Batu

It was Miss Kiki's spring break and this year I decided on a beach vacation for us. Since we were short on time, based on a friend's recommendation I booked our holiday with Moluccan Paradiso. If you have any inquiries about booking with them you can contact Martin at +62 812-4708-8893 or Aci at +62 823-9806-9555. They specialize in Eastern Indonesia tours and are based in Ambon, the capital city of Maluku (Moluccas).

For this trip, I bought a GoPro Hero 5 from Tokopedia to replace our broken waterproof Ricoh.

We started our journey with an overnight flight to Ambon with Garuda Indonesia. The flight had 1 transit in Makassar but we didn't disembark the plane during transit. It was a very short one. A direct flight from Jakarta to Ambon usually takes about 3 hours and 40 minutes. Ours was a bit longer with the half hour transit. Adding the 2 hours time difference, we arrived in Ambon early in the morning.

As soon as we disembarked the plane, I saw two young men holding a sign with our names on it. They escorted us straight to the exit to meet Martin and Aci and they took care of our luggages. I was relieved that they had done that, because the Pattimura Airport in Ambon still had the independent porter system and I would definitely prefer not to deal with it.

After a brief introduction, Aci and us hopped into a car that had "Ora Beach Resort" sign on it. We were taken to Hurnala Pier in Tulehu. Same deal here.... there were many pushy independent porters that I was grateful our tour guide was the one who dealt with them. We boarded a fast boat and took a 2-hour ride to Masohi.

Upon arrival in Masohi, we were picked up by a driver with a car and drove for another 2 hours to Saleman Village, where we took a small boat for about 10 minutes to get to Ora Beach Resort.

A few minutes before we arrived at Saleman Village, the sky darkened and it started drizzling. It continued pouring lightly on and off late into the evening. When we arrived at the resort it was close to the end of lunch time but we were able to grab something from their buffet-style restaurant. This restaurant area is one of their very few public facilities. The resort itself is perched on a beautiful coral area, but during our stay it was too windy to leisurely swim or snorkel. There weren't any other facilities provided, no kayak nor paddle board. 

We had reserved a Sea Room (Kamar Laut) and ours was the first one on the strip, right behind the larger Sea House (Rumah Laut) pictured below in the far left. Our room was quite spacious, reasonably clean, but without air conditioner. There was a solar panel for hot water that was probably installed recently because I saw in the reviews online that they hadn't had hot water before. Lucky! Towels were provided but most of them had huge stains. If I remember correctly they provided a small soap bar and toilet paper. There was drinking water available in the room. 

There were supposed to be a lot of hills/mountains surrounding this beach but that afternoon we couldn't see them due to the rain storm. With nothing to do, Miss Kiki entertained herself by feeding the fish from our balcony as well as reading a book that she brought along.

Our stay there included 3 meals per day and tea time snacks at 4 pm. Nothing too exciting occurred that evening, we just relaxed between lunch, snack time, and dinner. They had prepared a special dinner for Miss Kiki because most of the food they served was spicy.

That evening we slept with the sound of heavy rain. The rooms were not fully sealed so we sprayed ourselves with my new Doterra Terrashield bug spray, made from all natural ingredients. We weren't sure how the weather would be in the morning.

Lucky for us, the morning brought us a clear blue sky perfect for our planned trip to see Tebing Batu and Mata Air Belanda. The thing was, our guide had predicted that the nice weather would only last until noon. Thus, we left right after breakfast.

Our first stop was Tebing Batu, literally translated as Rock Cliff. The name said it all. It was a rock cliff not unlike the ones we saw in Ha Long Bay but smaller and not as many. There was a rock in the water that we could climb on, and DH swam over first. Miss Kiki and I followed after he reached the rock and climbed up.

To get off this rock, we either had to trace back down the way we climbed up (that wouldn't be easy!) or simply jumped down (easier said than done!). DH jumped but Miss Kiki and I were too scared :D It took a lot of convincing and encouragement for Miss Kiki but she finally jumped. I had no other choice but to jump as well. It was probably only a 1.5 m jump but it was scary enough I managed to get water up my nose! Lol...

Near the Rock Cliff there was supposed to be a rock cave that we could visit but one would have to dive under water to enter. Considering time and weather, we decided to skip the cave and went ahead to Mata Air Belanda (Dutch Spring). It was quite interesting to see and feel, the soupy sea water mixed with the cold spring water. 

We spent a little bit of time by the spring and headed back when we saw the clouds approaching.

We got back to the resort just in time for lunch and light drizzle. Miss Kiki got so excited when she saw that lunch was breaded fried chicken and fish filet. It was the best meal we had at the resort in my opinion. The drizzle continued throughout the afternoon but that didn't deter Miss Kiki and DH from snorkelling in the area.

In the evening the drizzle turned into heavy rainstorm with crazy strong wind all the way until morning. DH and I couldn't sleep well that night. We kept waking up because the doors and windows were shaking and parts of our roof were flapping. I honestly was mentally preparing myself to quickly run out of there if anything had happened. Not that running would help much... Lol....

Here's what our room looked like. We put Miss Kiki's coral shoes to dry on the window sill. 

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